It's when Santigao firsts meets him
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The old man is initially portrayed as a nuisance. He seems lonely and wants to strike up a conversation, he's exhausted and thirsty..... Santiago, of course, would like nothing more than to be rid of him, so he could continue daydreaming about the merchant's daughter.
Meanwhile, the old man persisted in his attempt to strike up a conversation. He said that he was tired and thirsty, and asked if he might have a sip of the boy's wine. The boy offered his bottle, hoping that the old man would leave him alone.